ECB today announced that more than 60,000 women are now playing cricket as the women’s game continues to grow in popularity following the England Women’s team’s Ashes triumph over Australia earlier this year.
A total of 63,560 women and girls over 14-years-old – seven per cent of the overall total of grassroots participants – played cricket in the last 12 months according to a new game-wide study of grassroots participation commissioned by ECB’s Cricket Partnerships team.
The study also showed that 68 per cent of female cricketers would like to play the game more often – with this figure rising even higher to 93 per cent among those who play the game occasionally in the 14- to 16-year-old age range.
Sunday was rated as the ‘Perfect Day’ for cricket by 51 per cent of female cricketers compared to 31 per cent favouring Saturday while 40-over cricket was the preferred format for 25 per cent of women with 20-over cricket rated second by 17 per cent.
According to the study, two thirds of women see cricket as a sociable sport and almost half those surveyed said they were enjoying the sport more than two years ago. Three quarters of female cricketers also play other sports with football, netball, swimming, tennis and hockey the most popular.
The research was based on ECB’s first ever National Playing Survey earlier this year which attracted more than 21,500 responses from recreational cricketers nationwide, together with analysis of more than 1.2 million scorecards from Play-Cricket.com and feedback from twelve Focus Groups.
The findings also formed part of a wider analysis of grassroots cricket participation which was conducted by Two Circles for ECB and funded via the Sport England Whole Sport Plan. Sport England’s own research has revealed that 12million women would like to play more sport.
Today’s announcement comes as The Cricket Foundation’s Chance to Shine initiative, which promotes cricket in state schools, is set to reach its one millionth girl during the autumn school term. More than 983,000 schoolgirls have taken part in cricket across 7,000 state schools since the project was first launched in 2005.
Six England players - Charlotte Edwards, Lydia Greenway, Jenny Gunn, Dani Hazell, Heather Knight and Susie Rowe - currently play a major role in supporting the project through coaching, training teachers and delivering assemblies. Thirteen-thousand girls received coaching in this way via the programme last year.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “Meeting the rising demand from women and girls for more opportunities to play the game in teams at every level is top priority for ECB and a key element of our new strategic plan, Champion Counties.
“Over the last decade, we have made a very significant investment into women’s cricket and we are now reaping the rewards with the England Women’s team’s on-field successes inspiring even greater participation at recreational level.
“With more than 600 recreational clubs nationwide now offering cricket for women and girls and the Chance to Shine programme reaching more schoolgirls than ever before, the foundations of the women’s game are strong.
“Our task now is to ensure we are providing the best possible facilities, coaching and club environments at grassroots level so that even more women and girls can take up the game and experience the enjoyment that comes from playing the sport regularly in teams.”